The Lord has tasked me with a couple of callings, and one is serving as a diabetes educator.  Being a health professional, especially one who deals in lifestyles, you see a lot of things that might go unnoticed by the naked eye. Recently I witnessed a diabetic take a dose of insulin just to have a donut. That may seem normal to those around him, but to those who know better, it’s not a normalcy at all, and sadly this is what happens when we only address the fruit of a thing and not the root. This is what happens when we have a safety net; in this person’s case, their safety net was using insulin to still indulge in the same habits that got them to the point of being insulin dependent to live. 


     As Christians, we use God and His grace and mercy the same way. A lot of times we use it as a safety net to atone for the mistakes we have no intention of correcting. The same goes for our health and healing, especially when dealing with diseases caused by living a lifestyle contrary to how God made the human body. Overindulging in certain foods and underutilizing our physical abilities and capabilities deviate from the nature in which the human body was created, and medicine serves as our grace and mercy allowing us to continue in our actions with no true repentance. 


     With the holidays coming up, this seems to be the best time discuss overindulgence and inactivity, but I don’t want to be a downer, especially since the holidays are filled with family, food and inactivity. I do want to encourage everyone to eat responsibly, and to give you a few tips on atoning for some mistakes that will be made this upcoming holiday season. 


Tip 1: Eat responsibly. 


     This is the time of year most of us wait on to partake in some of our favorite holiday foods and desserts like turkey and cornbread dressing, mac and cheese, yams and ham, and all the other fixings we like. Eating responsibly is not depriving yourself of those goodies, it’s making sure we are eating proper portion sizes and finding a balance in the foods we want while also partaking in the foods we need.


Tip 2: Drink responsibly. 


     I know I’m speaking to good Christian folks who don’t partake in the wine or the swine, right? So by this, I mean watch your liquid calories. Remember, drinks have calories. Limiting your liquid calories may help stave off some unwanted holiday pounds. 


Tip 3: Continue or establish a regular exercise regimen. 


     Food is fuel, and during the holidays we eat a lot of it. I know we are used to the adage “Whatever we don’t use, we lose.” Oh how we wish that was the case for excess weight. Unfortunately, our body stores unused energy in the form of fat, and the more we store, the more our fat cells expand. Exercise is the best way not only to burn stored energy but also to ensure that the new energy we intake is metabolized properly.  


Tip 4: Be more physically active. 


     I know this might sound like tip 3, but it’s not. Physical activity is any movement carried out by the muscles, whereas exercise is planned, repetitive, structured, intentional movements sustained for a period. Being more physically active can be standing more, walking more and just moving more in general. We want to get in the habit of breaking long periods of rest, lying or sitting. Because the types of foods we eat during the holidays are heavy, carb-filled comfort foods, they slow us down and cause us to be tired. Breaking long periods of rest with physical activity will help us utilize the energy we just consumed.


Tip 5: Enjoy your family and friends. 


     One thing that’s not stressed enough when it comes to our physical health is our mental health. They go hand in hand. Our mental affects our physical and vice versa. The Lord created us for community. He made us to need each other, just as He made us to need Him. 


Chris Fields is the founder and executive director of H.E.A.L. Mississippi and a graduate in kinesiology with advance studies in nutrition. He serves as a clinical exercise physiologist/CPT and is credentialed in Exercise Is Medicine through American College of Sports Medicine.